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Pollock (A Movie Review)

Updated: Apr 23, 2023

POLLOCK (2000)

Starring Ed Harris, Marcia Gay Harden, Jeffrey Tambor, Jennifer Connelly, Stephanie Seymour, Sada Thompson, Bud Cort, Amy Madigan, Robert Knott, Molly Regan, John Heard, Val Kilmer and Sally Murphy.

Screenplay by Barbara Turner and Susan J. Emshwiller.

Directed by Ed Harris.

Distributed by Columbia - Tri Star Pictures. 122 minutes. Rated R.

Jackson Pollock was a trailblazing painter. He was also an alcoholic, a manic-depressive and completely out of control. The truth of the matter is, though, there are a lot of brilliant, self-destructive people in the world. What the movie Pollock has to do… and ultimately fails to do… is make us believe there is a reason that we should be more interested in him than all the other brilliant self-destructive people in the world.

Yes, his painting was revolutionary, but we can see that in a museum, why should we have to sit through this movie? Pollock doesn’t even have faith in its source material. Other characters are constantly telling him (and by extension, the audience) how brilliant and revolutionary his art was – when the paintings themselves should do the talking.

Ed Harris (who also directed) does an incredible job of portraying Pollock, but in the end, Jackson Pollock was an unlikable, selfish, chronically insecure man – which makes it real tough to care about the centerpiece of your story. Marcia Gay Harden also does well with the essentially thankless role of his wife Lee Krasner, another artist who gave up her career to manage his, and to put up with his whims and foul moods.

Fine performances by the likes of Jennifer Connelly, Jeffrey Tambor, Stephanie Seymour and Amy Madigan are also pretty much wasted, all they really get to do is stroke Pollock’s ego, then look away in embarrassment when he flies off the handle and does something anti-social. Jackson Pollock’s art may have been unique, but his life story seems to have been pretty standard fare. (12/00)

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2000 All rights reserved. Posted: December 15, 2000.


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